The Name Game

70+ Popular Scottish Last Names That'll Make You Want To Get A Kilt

Bonus: They double as names for the wee bairn in your life.

by Laura Grainger
Originally Published: 
scottish last names
Walt Disney Pictures

Scottish last names are a great insight into the country’s rich history. Similar to Irish last names, their origins began with the Gaelic clan system that reigned the land. So there’s overlap between each country’s traditional surnames, but you can usually tell the differences by slight spelling variations. Scotland is more than its unique names, though. It is also a country dedicated to wisdom, justice, integrity, and compassion. It is filled with different nationalities and cultures and is socially committed to fairness and equality. In Scotland, diversity is considered a strength within their culture. In modern Scotland especially, they consider themselves to be a multi-belief and cultural country. The people of Scotland value respect for others and different practices and beliefs. Kindness and politeness are key to their social expectations as well.

Socially, Scots are considered very friendly, and humorous banter and sports talk are common. It’s also customary to invite someone over for tea or coffee or bring sweets for home visits. Scotland also has a huge appreciation for literature and graphic and performance art. The ability to tell a good and enticing story is viewed as a skill.

Scotland is clearly the country of positivity vibes only, so if you’ve ever wondered whether your last name has Scottish or Irish roots, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at our list of Scottish last names with their Scots Gaelic spellings and meanings.

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: French, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, Welsh, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and African last names, among others.

Common Scottish Last Names

1. MacGavin/MacGowan/Smith

Scottish spelling: Mac a’ Ghobhainn

Meaning: Son of the blacksmith.

2. Brown

Scottish spelling: Brùn

Meaning: The color brown, traditionally in reference to someone of dark hair or complexion.

3. MacNally/MacInally

Scottish spelling: Mac an Ollaimh

Meaning: Son of the learned man/son of the master poet.

4. Clark/MacClery/MacLerie

Scottish spelling: Mac a’ Chléirich

Meaning: Son of the clerk.

5. MacMillan

Scottish spelling: Maoileanach/Maolanach

Meaning: Son of the tonsure.

6. Buchanan

Scottish spelling: Buchanan/Buchannon/Buchanon

Meaning: House of the canon.

7. Walsh/Welsh

Scottish spelling: Breathnach

Meaning: Welshman.

8. Vass

Scottish spelling: Bhàsa

Meaning: Generally referring to a servant or serf, or death.

9. King/MacNee

Scottish spelling: Mac an Rìgh

Meaning: Son of the king.

10. Gordon

Scottish spelling: Gòrdan/Gòrdanach

Meaning: Large fortress.

11. Lennox

Scottish spelling: Leamhanach/Leamhnach

Meaning: Elm tree.

12. Blair

Scottish spelling: Blàr

Meaning: Plain or field.

13. Lees

Scottish spelling: Lìos

Meaning: Fields or pasture.

14. MacGill

Scottish spelling: Mac a’ Ghoill

Meaning: Son of the stranger.

15. Roy/Macanroy/Macinroy

Scottish spelling: Mac an Ruaidh

Meaning: Son of the red-haired.


16. MacCabe

Scottish spelling: MacCàba/Mac Aba

Meaning: Son of the helmeted warrior or son of the abbot.

17. Stewart

Scottish spelling: Stiùbhart

Meaning: Warden of the hall.

18. Wallace

Scottish spelling: Ualas

Meaning: Foreigner or Welshman.

19. Monroe/Munro

Scottish spelling: Rothach

Meaning: Man from the River Roe.

20. Cowan/MacCowan

Scottish spelling: MacCòmhain/MacEoghain

Meaning: Son of the yew tree.

21. Hunter

Scottish spelling: Mac an t-Sealgair

Meaning: Son of the hunter.

22. Fletcher

Scottish spelling: Mac an Fhleisteir

Meaning: Arrowsmith.

23. MacMaster

Scottish spelling: Mac a’ Mhaighstir

Meaning: Son of the cleric/master.

24. Gillies

Scottish spelling: Gilios/Gill’Iosa

Meaning: Servant of Jesus.

25. Brodie

Scottish spelling: Brothaigh

Meaning: Muddy place or steep place.

26. Cunningham

Scottish spelling: Coineagan

Meaning: Rabbit’s home.

27. Forbes

Scottish spelling: Foirbeis

Meaning: Field or district.

28. MacDuff

Scottish spelling: Mac Dhuibh/Dubhach

Meaning: Son of the black-haired.

29. Currie

Scottish spelling: Curraigh/Mac’Uirigh

Meaning: Marshland.

30. Bowie

Scottish spelling: Buidheach

Meaning: Yellow or fair-haired.


31. Abercrombie

Scottish spelling: Abarcrumbach

Meaning: Confluence of rivers at a bend, or mouth of the bendy river.

32. Alexandar/Alexander

Scottish spelling: MacAlasdair

Meaning: Protector of mankind.

33. Cameron

Scottish spelling: Cambeul

Meaning: Crooked mouth.

34. Findlay

Scottish spelling: Fionnlagh

Meaning: Fair hero.

35. MacAdam

Scottish spelling: MacAdam

Meaning: Son of Adam.

36. MacAlpine

Scottish spelling: MacAilpein

Meaning: Son of Alpin, or son of the blonde one.

37. MacDougall

Scottish spelling: MacDhugaill, Mac Dubhghaill

Meaning: Son of Dougal, dark stranger.

38. McLeish

Scottish spelling: Mac Gille Iosa, Gillies

Meaning: Son of the servant of Jesus.

39. Ferguson

Scottish spelling: Macfhearghus

Meaning: Son of the angry one.

40. Docherty

Scottish spelling: O’Dochartaigh

Meaning: Hurtful or obstructive.

41. McCaskill/MacAskill

Scottish spelling: MacAsgaill

Meaning: Cauldron of sacrifice to the gods.

42. MacCallum/McCallum

Scottish spelling: Mac Gille Chalium

Meaning: Son of the servant of Columbia (with Columbia meaning “dove”).

43. MacLinktock

Scottish spelling: Mac Gille Fhiondaig

Meaning: Son of the servant of Saint Findon.

44. MacFadyen/MacFadden

Scottish spelling: Mac Phaiden

Meaning: Son of little Patrick.

45. MacFie/McPhee

Scottish spelling: Mac Duibshithe

Meaning: Son of Dubshithe (with Duibshithe meaning “dark peace”).

46. Aird

Scottish spelling: Àird

Meaning: Foreigner or Welshman.

47. Aitchison/Atkinson/Addison

Scottish spelling: Atzinson

Meaning: Red earth.

48. Gale

Scottish spelling: Gail

Meaning: A flock of geese.

49. Gallacher

Scottish spelling: Gallchobhair/Gallchobhar

Meaning: Foreign help.

50. Haggan

Scottish spelling: Hagen

Meaning: Youthful one.

51. Ainsley

Scottish spelling: Ainsleigh

Meaning: One’s own meadow, alone, solitary, woodland, or clearing.

52. Calhoun

Scottish spelling: Colquhoun

Meaning: Nook or corner.

53. Cruickshank

Scottish spelling: Colquhoun

Meaning: Bent leg or hook.

54. Cummins

Scottish spelling: Cunmin/Cumin/Comyn

Meaning: Bent or crooked.

55. Douglas

Scottish spelling: Dubhghlas

Meaning: Dark river, water, or grey, green.

56. Drummond

Scottish spelling: Drumainn/Druim

Meaning: Ridge.

57. Lennox

Scottish spelling: Leamhnachd

Meaning: Place of elms.

58. Bathgate

Scottish spelling: Bathket

Meaning: Habitational name from a place in West Lothian.

59. Abernathy

Scottish spelling: Abirnethie

Meaning: Originating from Abernethy in southeastern Perthshire. The surname is of Pictish origin, meaning ‘mouth of the river Nethy’.

60. Ancrum

Scottish spelling: Alncromb

Meaning: Name originating from a place in Roxburghshire.

61. Harrower

Scottish spelling: Cliathadh

Meaning: A person who harrowed cultivated land.

62. Haxton

Scottish spelling: Haxton

Meaning: A name for someone from Lothiam, originally Hawkerton (land owned by king’s falconer).

63. Acheson

Scottish spelling: Atkinson

Meaning: Son of Atkin.

64. Allaway

Scottish spelling: Allaway

Meaning: From a Scottish place name, derived from alla, meaning “wild,” and mhagh, meaning “field.”

65. Barclay

Scottish spelling: Barkeley

Meaning: One’s own meadow, solitary, or clearing.

66. Bell

Scottish spelling: Bel

Meaning: Someone who comes from a family who made bells or rang church bells.

67. Black

Scottish spelling: Ciaran

Meaning: Dark hair or skin.

68. Blackwood

Scottish spelling: Blackwode

Meaning: Someone who is from the Blackwood region of Scotland.

69. Boyce

Scottish spelling: Boece

Meaning: Wood or the last name of a family who lives near the woods.

70. Bran

Scottish spelling: McBrain

Meaning: Raven.

71. Braid

Scottish spelling: Mac an Bhreitheamham

Meaning: People who are from Braid in South Edinburgh.

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